Cristiano Ronaldo and 9 Other Players Soccer Fans Love to Hate
The Bleacher Report takes an irreverent look at some of the footballers that opposing fans love to hate. Some have earned the fans' ire more than others, but all can take solace from the fact that only the very best players, the ones who can really hurt other teams, are ever thought of in this way.
From Cristiano Ronaldo to Roy Keane, Lawrence McNeela counts down the 10 he thinks are most unpopular. Don't forget to add your own favourites in the comments box below.
When at Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo's reputation for diving to win free kicks made him the most hated figure for fans of every other Premier League club. His wink, after helping get Wayne Rooney sent off during the World Cup clash between Portugal and England, didn't help either.
Ronaldo doesn't help himself with comments like the ones made after Real Madrid's Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb this week. The British press reported he said, "Opposition fans boo and jeer me because they're jealous. I'm rich, handsome and a great player."
Maybe he's right and we are all jealous. After all, he reportedly earns €11 million per year, has had a string of beautiful girlfriends and last season scored an incredible 53 goals for the Spanish giants. The lad has it all.
It's not just the way Frank Lampard kisses his Chelsea badge after scoring a goal that makes him so disliked in England. The major reason behind the antipathy for him is the fact that he continues to play in the English national team, despite having not recorded a single decent performance since the qualifying campaign for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Sorry Frank, but it's well and truly time that you were retired from the international scene.
Tempermental Manchester United legend Roy Keane used to stride the middle of the pitch like a colossus. He also enjoyed kicking other players, particularly Manchester City footballer Alf-Inge Haaland.
Roy Keane fell out with just about everybody during his playing career, including managers Kenny Dalglish, Brian Clough and Mick McCarthy. He also had a running spat with Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer, collected 11 red cards whilst at Old Trafford and famously called his own fans, "prawn sandwich munching glory hunters!"
Standing over six feet tall, and with a muscular torso that makes him as strong as a fighting bull, Didier Drogba is one of the best centre-forwards to have graced the English Premier League. He has scored some great goals and led Chelsea from the front during the most successful period in their history.
However, Drogba's tendency towards falling over after the merest brush with an opposition player, and sometimes when no contact has been made at all, has blotted his copybook. This was never more obvious than during his hilarious spat with Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann.
As with the previous players mentioned, it's normally the best footballers that opposition fans hate. Afterall, it's the best footballers who can hurt you on the field. So it seems to be with Steven Gerrard.
Stevie G to his adoring Kop, selfish and egotistical Stevie Me to fans of rival fans, the Liverpool captain receives most of his criticism for a string of England performances that have failed to live up to the heights he's set at Anfield.
In his defence, successive England managers have played him out of position to accommodate the similar playing style of Frank Lampard.
Thierry Henry then went from hero to villain overnight, after his outrageous handball against the Republic of Ireland during the World Cup Finals playoff at the Stade de France.
With the scores tied at 1-1, Henry used his hands twice to control the ball before crossing for William Gallas to score the winner. Cue a lot of very angry Irishmen grumbling into their Guinness.
Once the dirtiest player in the English Premiership, Robbie Savage provoked the ire of most opposition supporters.
In fairness to the Welsh international, he has also caused great hilarity at times and is now an amusing media pundit. He is particularly infamous for using the referee's toilet when complaining of a stomach upset, an action that cost him a £10,000 fine from the Football Association.
Undoubtedly gifted, but overrated beyond all ability by the English press, Wayne Rooney has done little in an England shirt to justify the tabloid hype.
Swearing at England's fans after a lacklustre display against Algeria was a low point, as were allegations made in tabloid newspapers that he visited prostitutes whilst wife Colleen was pregnant with his son Kai.
In his defence, the Manchester United striker earns bonus points for his comical hair transplant!
Sergio Busquets has carved a fine reputation for himself as one of European soccer's most effective players.
His second reputation, as an alleged racist, came after claims he called Real Madrid defender Marcelo a monkey.
His ludicrous play-acting has also riled fans of opposition clubs, especially his role in getting Thiago Motta sent off in the Champions League clash with Inter Milan.
Graeme Le Saux
Former Blackburn Rovers and Chelsea star Graeme Le Saux always had the air of being the classroom snitch about him and was so unpopular his own teammate, fellow England international David Batty, once punched him during a Champions League game against FC Spartak Moscow.
Continually hounded by ridiculously homophobic allegations, Le Saux is actually married with two children.